Dell’s new SDN-enabled fabric solutions accelerate data center transformation

Infotech Lead America: Dell has added two new solutions to its networking portfolio to help customers accelerate transitions to converged, virtualized and private cloud environments.

Dell’s new offerings are – Active Fabric solutions for SDN enabled designs along with the management software – Dell Active Fabric Manager, and the Dell Networking S5000 modular LAN/SAN switching platform.

Dell Active Fabric provides a scalable multipath network architecture that is flexible and ideal for the increasing volumes of East-West traffic in today’s virtualized data centers and private clouds. Active Fabric solutions use high-density and low-latency, fixed-form factor 10/40GbE switches that can be deployed quickly and easily while reaching to hyperscale proportions.

Gartner’s Rightsizing the Enterprise Data Center Network report states, “Newer small form factor core devices can enable network managers to reduce capital costs by 30 percent to 70 percent, and save 30 percent or more on operations expenses, compared with chassis-based switches.”

Compared to traditional chassis-based network designs, Dell Active Fabric solutions provide up to 59 percent cost savings and consume up to 77 percent less power.

The software abstraction layer that SDN delivers in Dell Active Fabric solutions enables open programmability and makes infrastructure flexible and adaptable to different customer environments.

Dell Active Fabric uses hypervisors from Microsoft, VMware and OpenStack and supports Open Flow-based controllers from leading vendors including Big Switch Networks. The solution also supports legacy programmatic interfaces including Telnet/CLI, TCL, REST, SNMP, Perl and Python scripting.


Dell Active Fabric features high-performance 10GbE & 40GbE L2/L3 multipath fabrics, LAN/SAN convergence using Data Center Bridging (iSCSI, Fibre Channel (FC) and Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), OpenFlow support, and Standard northbound and southbound interfaces.

By automating the tasks associated with planning, designing, building and monitoring fabrics, The Dell Active Fabric Manager reduces deployment time up to 86 percent compared to a completely manual process.

Dell Active Fabric Manager features Design wizard, which simplifies the mapping process using an intuitive graphical interface, performing all the necessary calculations to present the optimal fabric design, eliminating guesswork and errors.

It automates provisioning, validation and configuration and translates a fabric design to a completely functional deployment while eliminating numerous command line interface entries.

Dell Active Fabric Manager abstracts the fabric as a single entity to allowing other tools in the data center to integrate easily. Role-based access allows multiple departments to monitor different aspects of fabric performance.

The Dell Networking S5000 is Dell’s first 1U 10/40GbE top-of-rack LAN/SAN switch that has native FC and FCoE capabilities. Dell Open Automation framework provides integrated automation, scripting and programmable management that enhances network flexibility in virtualized environments.

The S5000 offers pay-as-you grow modularity and is designed to scale to improve deployment flexibility and IT budget allocation compared to fixed-port switches. Customers could populate a single module and add as necessary instead of buying all four modules at once.


High-density LAN/SAN convergence saves on the number of switches and rack space required, offering up to 1.3 to 2.6 times the port density per rack unit compared to industry alternatives. It also supports iSCSI, RoCE, NAS, FCoE and FC fabric services on the same platform.

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